The downward trend in the number of students in the country is worsening with the corona virus crisis. In high-paying times, many drop out of higher education and accept well-paying jobs. Higher education has long been seen as a way to get a good job. Many job descriptions explicitly list the college degree as a prerequisite. However, enrollment in undergraduate courses in the United States has been steadily declining over the past decade, with corona virus infection giving further impetus to this trend.
Since the fall of 2019, U.S. college enrollment has fallen 6.6% to 14.4 million full-time and part-time students, according to the Center for Nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse Research. This means there are more than 1 million fewer students than there were two years ago.
Both public universities and private colleges offering four-year undergraduate courses have seen a decline in student numbers. Community colleges, which primarily offer affiliates with two-year programs and generally serve low-income students of color and over, have been hit hard by a 13% drop in enrollment.
But if schooling is so important, why are so few students enrolled? What does that mean for their future and economy?
In most parts of the state of Michigan, enrollment for both two- and four-year programs has decreased compared to 2019. In the past two years, the state has sent 17,500 fewer high school graduates to college than expected, according to recent research. By Bridge Michigan News Agency.
The University of Auckland, an hour north of Detroit, had a good number before the epidemic. It reached a record high in 2016 and ran the second-largest new student classes in history in the second semesters of 2018 and 2019, says Don Aubrey of the Department of Record Management.
After 2019, the company lost 2,100 enrollments, and today it has 12,500 undergraduate students. The slight drop in retention rates added to the problem as students left the university. It reached almost all population groups. “However, some groups were more affected than others, especially under-represented minority students, who had lower retention rates than in previous years,” Aubry told DW.
Another problem is that the number of students admitted in the second half of 2021, but who chose not to enroll in college, is 48% higher than the previous year. “Even if some of them choose to join us later in the semester, our challenge now is to reunite with this student population to illustrate the value of higher education and the benefits of obtaining a bachelor’s degree,” Aubrey explains.
Long-term impact on the economy
Convincing prospective students should not be so difficult on paper. According to a study released in October by Georgetown University, undergraduate workers earn an average of $ 2.8 million.
Data show that in addition to earning more, a degree opens the door to more career opportunities and greater job satisfaction. Those with higher education are less likely to lose their jobs, and if they do, they can easily find new ones.
“While college may not be the right path for everyone, it offers one of the best options for an upward economic movement. If fewer people go to university, it could have a major impact on the family’s financial security and economy in the future,” said Sarah Chattelmeyer. ., Project Director of Education, Opportunity and Movement for the Higher Education Program in New America, a Washington-based think tank.
At least I’ve put off college for now
However, there are several reasons for the slowdown in higher education growth in the United States. Due to the low birth rate, the total number of high school graduates did not grow and in some places stagnated or decreased. Thus the attendance of new students is declining.
At the same time, tuition fees are rising and those who are unable to get a scholarship or are not ready to apply for a student loan will not be able to come to college.
Govt-19 Epidemiology College plays a dramatic role in keeping recruiters out of high schools and students off campus. During the lockdowns, many students refused to pay the full tuition fee to stay at home and attend classes online only. Travel restrictions have completely barred a good number of foreign students.
The epidemic has put many families in a precarious financial situation. For these potential students, further education was no longer an option: they had to work to pay their fees.
Work instead of college
Others in less tight funds were motivated by a competitive job market for employers to offer higher wages. These employees do not require a degree, especially in hospitality and low-skilled jobs, when they earn more than ever.
“Historically, college enrollment has been counter-cyclical, especially in community colleges. As the economy shrinks, more people will go back to school or join; as it expands, many will go to work,” says Sattelmeyer.
However, this was not repeated during the Govt-19 epidemics because many potential students did not enroll in the programs or drop out altogether. “Although enrollment has declined in recent years for a variety of reasons, the epidemic has accelerated this trend, especially among undergraduates,” Chattelmeyer points out.
The problem is bigger than enrollment numbers: local and state governments have been helping colleges during epidemics, but this new environment underscores the need for long-term investment in programs that make graduation truly easier, says Chattelmeyer.
How to attract students back to the classroom
However, before structural changes occur, educational institutions try to bring students back quickly by offering scholarship programs, conducting special recruitment campaigns, and pursuing exited students.
At the University of Auckland, the admissions committee struggles to explain why there is no better time to invest in the future by pursuing a degree. They created the Golden Grizzly Graduate Program to retain the students they have and rescue those who have stopped going to classrooms.
The new initiative is flexible and aims to help students return or continue their studies. It is a holistic approach that “involves scholarships and specialized resources for undergraduate students to obtain their bachelor’s degrees,” Aubrey explains.
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